A new iron ore mine in the Northern Territory is expected to begin exporting before the end of the year.
Western Desert Resources, which plans to employ over 200 full-time workers, has just received financial backing from a major bank for its $170 million project, south of Ngukurr.
Managing director Norm Gardener says the project has progressed well and ore will be shipped overseas within the next three months.
"We're working really hard to get everything finished in the next eight weeks.
"The majority of the [haul] road is finished, we've started work at the mine site, we're currently mining with ore going up on to the pad," he said.
The company is building the 165 kilometre private haul road from the mine site to the Bing Bong Port near Borroloola.
Mr Gardener says a workforce of about 400 contractors from the Territory and Australia is currently on site for the construction phase.
"I'd say probably 75 per cent of the people are Territory people, from either Alice Springs, Katherine or Darwin.
"We've got a really good contingent of Indigenous people from the local community and that's going really well," he said.
He says with current projected reserves the mine will last for five years, but there is hope it could well be much longer.
"Ultimately it depends on the commodity price, but I think we're a fair chance to run ten years on this direct shipping ore stage.
"If we can work out a commercially viable plan for the second stage of the project, there's probably enough ore there to run for 40 or 50 years," he said.
Mr Gardener says the mining project has received all neccessary environmental approvals.